Trump administration strikes another deal for a promising COVID-19 vaccine

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Moderna Inc. reached a deal with the Trump administration to supply 100 million doses of its experimental vaccine for COVID-19, in a pact valued at up to $1.5 billion, the latest in a string of supply agreements the U.S. has reached to stockpile the most advanced vaccines in testing.

“I’m pleased to announce we’ve reached an agreement with Moderna to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine candidate,” President Donald Trump said at a White House briefing. “The federal government will own these vaccine doses, we’re buying them.”

Moderna, which is already receiving $955 million in government assistance to test the vaccine, will be selling the vaccine for roughly $15 a dose, or $30 for a two-dose regimen.

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The Trump administration has already reached supply agreements with several other vaccine front-runners. In July, it agreed to buy 100 million doses of a messenger RNA vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE for $1.95 billion, should the vaccine work in trials. And earlier this month, the federal government also reached a supply pact with Johnson & Johnson for the company to provide 100 million doses of its vaccine for over $1 billion.

While Pfizer’s price is slightly more than what Moderna will get on a per-dose basis, Pfizer hasn’t received government money for testing its vaccine.

Shares gained 10% to $76.01 in late trading in New York. Earlier Tuesday, the company’s stock had fallen as much as 7% after Reuters and Axios flagged language in a Moderna filing last week concerning patent risks to its vaccine candidate.

Moderna will manufacture the vaccine as clinical trials continue, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Today’s investment represents the next step in supporting this vaccine candidate all the way from early development by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, through clinical trials, and now large-scale manufacturing, with the potential to bring hundreds of millions of safe and effective doses to the American people,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in the statement.

Despite the efforts to lock down domestic supplies of any successful vaccine, most Americans will likely need to wait until 2021 to be inoculated, Anthony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force has warned.

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